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Burma by Bike
14 days
Burma (Myanmar) - Trip code CBR

Burma by Bike Holidays

Exploring Burma (Myanmar) by bicycle offers a fantastic insight into this beautiful country. On this tour we cycle along rural backroads between the principal attractions of Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake. Additionally we get closer to the locals in less visited but equally rewarding places such as Popa and Monywa. Burma is a tremendously friendly and welcoming country to visit and decades of political isolation mean that many of the traditional ways of life remain unchanged in modern times, from the lowland Buddhist beliefs to the highland animist hilltribes. Should I go? Signalling the end of a fifteen-year tourism boycott, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader, gave her blessing for the return of tourism to Burma in November 2010. National League for Democracy (NLD) leader U Win Tin said, "We want people to come to Burma, not to help the junta, but to help the people by understanding the situation: political, economic, moral - everything." The return of small groups and individuals to Burma has been endorsed by Burma Campaign UK and the Free Burma campaign. We are delighted to have returned to the country, having respected the boycott, we remain acutely aware of our ethical responsibility. We use a privately-owned Burmese agent for all of our local services, and our itineraries have been carefully planned to limit the use of services owned by, or affiliated with, the former military junta. This ensures that the Burmese people benefit as much as possible from our tours. We strongly believe that we contribute positively to the local economy, whilst providing our customers with the privilege of direct interaction with the local people, as well as an insight into the country's unique culture and heritage. On the 8th November 2015, 50 years of military rule came to an end when the NLD won a land-slide victory in Burma's first national vote. The country is embracing an unprecedented period of change, but with the military junta still retaining 25% of its seats. Visiting Burma now offers a fascinating insight into the politics of a country grappling with, and slowly embracing democracy and the 21st Century.

Trip highlights

  • Easy Cycling through Burma (Myanmar) - Along quiet backroads getting off the beaten track away from tourist areas for an unforgettable real country experience as well as visiting the major highlights Rangoon (Yangon) - Colonial grandeur, golden temples and street markets Inle Lake - Backwater boat trips and cycle rides across the Shan Plateau Bagan - Explore one of South East Asia's most spectacular archaeological sites by bicycle Bagan to Mandalay - Stunning cycling on a little travelled route via Monywa through forests, farmlands and palm-thatched villages - a taste of real Burma Mandalay - Ancient capitals, river cruises and sunset from Mandalay Hill Shan Highlands - Tribal villages and the former British hill station of Kalaw
Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Cycling grade:
Easy
Suitable for anyone who enjoys easy and relatively short rides on flat or gently undulating terrain. Ideal if you simply want to explore a region by bike at a relaxed pace.
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Cycling information

General cycling information
On this tour we cycle 285 km over nine days (an average of 32 km per day) with a further optional 20 km available. We mostly follow provincial roads with less car traffic (90% tarmac roads, 10% earth or gravel roads). The terrain is generally flat with some gentle slopes on limited sections. A support vehicle accompanies the rides throughout the tour. We have graded the route as easy.
Bike included
21 gear Cannondale Trail 8 mountain bikes with front suspension
Bike information
Your included bike is a 21 gear Cannondale Trail 8 mountain bike with front suspension and will be the correct frame size for your height. A water bottle holder is included as well as the facility to fit your own pedals or saddle if you wish to bring them. A support vehicle accompanies the rides throughout the tour. We provide spare parts and take care of the day-to-day maintenance. All you need to bring is your own helmet.
Cycling grade
Easy

Why book this trip

Unlike many other operators, we include the hire of your bike in the overall cost of the holiday: you don't need to bring your own or pay extra to hire one locally. We also provide a support vehicle, spare parts and take care of day to day bike maintenance. All you need bring is your own helmet.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 13
  • Lunch: 9
Transport
  • Bus
  • Bicycle
  • Boat
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader / Cycle guide
  • Boat Crew
  • Driver(s)
  • Local Guide(s)
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

Holidays to Burma (Myanmar)

Climate

Burma is a tropical country and has three seasons. Temperature and rainfall varies across the country; Rangoon, Bagan and coastal areas tend to have higher temperatures and rainfall. Cool season = October to February with average temperatures from 18-24C; at higher altitudes (Inle Lake, Kalaw) the temperature is slightly cooler and temperatures can drop down to about zero at night. Hot season = March to mid-May 25-38C; particularly hot in Bagan and Rangoon. Rainy (Southwest Monsoon) = mid-May to September 23-33C; practically all of the country's rain falls in this period.

Time difference to GMT

+6

Plugs

3 Pin Flat

Religion

Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism

Language

Burmese

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

Inle Lake - Traditional massage - USD 8 Bagan - Hot Air Balloon USD 300-350 depending on Premium or Regular service and time of the year. Due to high demand, if you are planning on taking the optional hot air balloon excursion you may wish to consider booking this in advance to secure your place on the flight. Please refer to your tour notes to check which mornings you will be in Bagan and therefore able to do the excursion. We do not recommend booking on the day you are due to leave Bagan in case an early departure is planned. The balloon excursion does not form part of your included Explore holiday package. You can book and pay with the balloon operator directly: http://www.easternsafaris.com/balloonsoverbagan_home.html Traditional massage USD 10; Optional sunrise USD 8; Mount Popa Excursion - USD 42 (based on group size of 3-4 person) Cameras and video-cameras are permitted in Burma for which some sites charge a small fee. Restrictions on photography include military facilities and any structure considered strategic (including bridges and train stations though this last may be loosely enforced).

Clothing

Warm weather clothing is suitable for Rangoon, Mandalay and Bagan. The Shan highlands, Inle Lake and Kalaw are cooler and in the winter season temperatures may reach near zero at night. Please dress respectfully when visiting temples and religious sites, covering your torso, shoulders and legs to below the knee, plus easily removable footwear for convenience as you can only enter sacred sites barefoot. Leggings are not suitable for visiting temples (as tight fitting). However sarongs or 3/4 crop trousers are acceptable. In general, as Burma is a traditional, conservative and largely Buddhist culture we recommend you do not wear revealing clothing. Bring cycle shorts, quick drying tops are ideal and you will need cycle gloves. You will need loose fitting, comfortable clothes for hot, humid conditions. Sunhat, sunglasses, long trousers and long sleeved shirt essential for protection from the sun.

Footwear

If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to tours that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.

Equipment

Mobile phones: Mobile coverage in Burma is improving but be aware that your mobile may not work. It is possible to buy a local SIM card for around USD 4 in order to make/receive international calls, as long as your phone is un-locked. SMS messaging may not be possible. Internet is available in Rangoon and Mandalay though should not be relied upon. On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling, alternatively you can leave things in the support bus and will be able to access sporadically throughout each day. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.

Tipping

Explore leader
At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, the Tour Leaders may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour. Accordingly you should allow approximately USD 40 for this purpose.
Country Information

Holidays to Burma (Myanmar)

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£3
Dinner price
£5
Beer price
£1.8
Water price
£0.7
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Kyat.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Carry all your funds in U.S. Dollars cash, larger denominations tend to get better exchange rate. NB - PLEASE ONLY BRING NEW U.S. DOLLAR BILLS (BIG HEADS INSTEAD OF SMALL) AND THEY SHOULD BE NEW AND IN A PRISTINE STATE. ANY OLD, TORN OR MARKED NOTES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. U.S. Dollar bills with the series CB will not be accepted for exchange.
Where To Exchange
The official rate is far different from the market rate, we recommend you consult your tour leader for advice regarding the best place to exchange. The exchange booth at airport offers a very poor rate so we recommend you wait until getting into town (taxis accept dollars if agreed beforehand).
ATM Availability
ATMs are becoming more widely available and some hotels may have them, including the Panda Hotel in Yangon. You are more likely to find them in the larger cities, but they are now starting to appear in some of the smaller towns and villages. Please be aware that they are prone to occasional breakdowns so you would be wise to top up your cash before it runs out completely.
Credit Card Acceptance
Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted but you should not rely on them. The places where you are most likely to be able to use them are in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay and there may be a charge.
Travellers Cheques
Not accepted.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Bicycle, Boat

Accommodation notes

Booking a Single Room

All of our group tours are planned and operated on a twin-share basis, meaning that the standard cost is based either on individual travellers sharing accommodation with another group member of the same sex, or people who book together sharing accommodation. Please refer to the tour notes where the single room option availability is detailed on a night by night basis for this tour, and the price for the available nights is detailed on the dates & prices tab by departure date. For Self-Guided trips the Single Room supplement offers the option of a single room each and is charged per person. The Single Room supplement also applies to the third person in a party of three that will be accommodated in a single room.


Standard - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities. Simple - These are often small, family run establishments or campsites which provide a no-frills experience with adequate amenities and service standards. Sleeping arrangements are simple, sometimes with en suite facilities.

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Holidays to Burma (Myanmar)

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A plus Polio and diptheria. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Following the advice given by the Government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we strongly recommend the wearing long sleeved shirts and the liberal application of insect repellent as a precautionary measure to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. These precautions should be taken at all times as the mosquitoes are also active during daylight hours. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option

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